Friday, May 7, 2010

The Ageless Jamie Moyer & Phil Niekro

Philadelphia Phillies southpaw Jamie Moyer made history tonight becoming the oldest pitcher in MLB history to throw a complete game shutout.

The 47-year-old veteran gave up only two hits against the Atlanta Braves tonight. He struck out five batters and walked no one. Not bad for a father of eight children.

I saw Moyer's previous start on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball against the Mets. Although he won the game he gave up five runs on six hits.

Prior to Moyer's masterpiece, Phil Niekro had been the oldest pitcher to toss a shutout. Unfortunately, Todd Zolecki of states Niekro did so on July 25, 1987 while a member of the Cleveland Indians against the Minnesota Twins.

Niekro did pitch that night but it was against the Texas Rangers and he lost the game 7-3 against fellow knuckleballer Charlie Hough. Niekro threw his shutout on October 6, 1985 for the New York Yankees against the Toronto Blue Jays. He surrendered only four hits against the Jays en route to an 8-0 victory.

I remember this game for five reasons.

1. It took place on the last day of the regular season.

2. It took place the day following the Blue Jays clinching their first AL East Division.

3. It was Niekro's 300th victory.

4. Niekro deliberately did not throw knuckleballs until the final hitter of the game (which if memory serves was Jeff Burroughs).

5. It took place on my sister's 9th birthday.

Needless to say, I have sent Zolecki an e-mail containing this information.

UPDATE: Zolecki replied, acknowledged the error and has corrected it.

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